Odii vs Nwifuru: Ebonyi PDP Rejects Tribunal Judgement, Heads to Appeal Court

 

 

 

The legal team of the Peoples Democratic Party and its candidate, Ifeanyi Odii, has expressed dissatisfaction with the judgment of the Ebonyi State Election Petitions Tribunal which affirmed the election of Ebonyi State Governor, Francis Nwifuru.

 

The PDP legal team vowed to appeal the judgment on behalf of its client.

 

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had announced Francis Nwifuru winner of the poll with 199,131 votes.

 

Dr. Chukwuma Ifeanyi Odii of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, came second with 80,191 votes.

 

 

But Odii and PDP had asked the Tribunal to nullify Nwifuru’s election on the grounds of non-compliance with the Electoral Act 2022 and alleged failure to score the majority of lawful votes cast at the guber poll.

 

 

Odii and the PDP legal team contended that the governor was at the time of the election, not qualified to contest the election on the platform of the APC because he was still a member of the People’s Democratic Party.

 

But the All Progressives Congress insisted that Nwifuru was duly sponsored to contest the polls.

 

In its judgment on Wednesday, the three-man panel of the Tribunal chaired by Justice O. Lekan declined jurisdiction on the issue of nomination and sponsorship by a political party.

 

The panel held that it was a pre-election matter that should have commenced and be resolved by a Federal High Court before the poll.

 

The Tribunal also held that the PDP’s assertion regarding alleged overvoting, mutilation and inflation of results was not substantiated or proved beyond reasonable doubt.

 

The petition was subsequently dismissed by the Tribunal.

 

Speaking to the press, a member of the PDP legal team, Barrister Ifeanyi Iboko, said the tribunal’s verdict is the first step in the election litigation, saying his team would appeal the decision.

 

“This is just the first step, we still have the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court.

 

“On appeal, we will be going,” he said.

 

Also speaking to journalists on the ruling, Barr Ifeanyi Nworie, a member of the PDP legal team and Deputy State Chairman of the party in Ebonyi State called on PDP members and supporters “to remain calm as the party is determined to get justice and reclaim its mandate” at the higher court.

On their part, the legal team of the APC called on the PDP to join hands with Governor Nwifuru to build the state.

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